Do I have a say in which child care program my ex chooses to send our child to?

Question:

My four-year-old son is enrolled in a family child care center. Under a custody court order, my ex-wife and I used to split the cost. Now my ex-wife wants to move him to a more expensive child care center, and I don’t agree. Do I have a say in where he attends child care?

Answer:

Yes. Unless your custody court order says otherwise, as long as you share legal custody with your ex-wife, you have a say in where your child attends child care.

If you share legal custody (even if your wife has physical custody), you are both entitled to make decisions about your child’s health, education, and welfare. This may include what type of child care your child attends.

You say that you have a custody order. Depending on the current terms of the custody court order, a new court order may be required to change where your son attends child care or to change how the cost is divided. You say that you and your ex-wife disagree, so it sounds like you are dealing with a family law dispute.

If you already have a family law attorney, talking to him or her about your question would be a good place to start. If not, another good resource if you are looking for help with family law issues may be the Family Law Facilitator in your county. He or she is a lawyer with experience in family law who works for the superior court to help parents and children involved in family law cases.

The California court system also has a helpful website with a lot more information about child support, and how to find the local child support agency in your county.